(JTA) — The former mayor of a small town in western Guatemala was sentenced to a year in prison for expelling the Lev Tahor sect of haredi Orthodox Jews.
Antonio Adolfo Perez y Perez of San Juan La Laguna was found guilty of coercion in the expulsion, which took place in 2014.
Up to 500 members of the controversial haredi Orthodox sect Lev Tahor were forced out of the village following religiously tainted disputes with its Mayan residents, who are Roman Catholic. The local elders’ council voted against the Jewish group, which practices an austere form of Judaism.
Perez said during his trial that he forced the sect out to end the “clash of cultures,” the AFP news agency reported.
Perez was given the option of paying a $1,000 fine instead of jail, according to the report.
Lev Tahor had maintained a small presence in San Juan La Laguna, a village about 90 miles west of Guatemala City, for about six years.
Lev Tahor shuns technology and its female members wear black robes from head to toe, leaving only their faces exposed.
Ex-Mayor Of Guatemala Town Jailed For Expelling Hasidic Sect